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Monday, March 16, 2015

On Writing

About six weeks ago I fell while working with my dogs and managed to break two ribs and crack two more, with various and sundry other bumps and bruises.  I denied I'd broken anything and I'd wake up tomorrow perfectly healed.  After exactly one week, even I had to accept the fact that I was broken and needed mending, so I headed to the doctor who confirmed all of that.  The doctor's office was great calling in cough medicine and antibiotics when I started coughing to stave off pneumonia (I need to buy that office a coffee machine, I really do).  So I have a few days until I go back in to recheck the ribs.  I'm pretty sure I'm mostly fine, but there are a couple of ribs still not taking the piss.  We'll sort them out.

I've had 6 weeks of sitting about, watching Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries and Midsomer Murders (all 17 seasons), and reading anything I could get on my Kindle.  To be honest, there was a week or so there where the wireless was not working on it.  I nearly missed Patricia Briggs Dead Heat!  I love me some Charles and Anna.

So I've been reading.  I've been reading a lot.  And I came to notice something as I re-read books (because I can easily read 4 books in a day with nothing else to do).  I realized that some of my favorite writers committed some serious prose errors.  What ho?!  I refuse to name names because some of them were perpetrated upon an adoring public by authors who should know better.  So let me begin with an open letter to lady novel writers.

Dear Lady Novel Writers,

I love your stories, your characters, your imagination. I appreciate you taking me to worlds far and near.  I love that you make me laugh, make me cry, and sometimes make me wonder.  However, with that said, dear, gentle Novel Writer, if you freakin' use the word whilst one more time that is NOT in a historical bodice ripper, I will personally come to you home and bludgeon you with your own keyboard.  Do I make myself clear.  If you don't have an editor to keep you safe from yourself, GET ONE!

And further, dear, gentle Novel Writer, the correct usage of the phrase is COULD NOT CARE LESS. If you can care less, then you care something, just a little.  The phrase "could not care less" and "could not possibly care less" indicate the abject pit of apathy the speaker of the phrase feels.  The next time I read the incorrect usage in one of your books I shall write a scathing review post the number of times you misused the phrase in that one novel alone.  (For some writers this should stand out as the phrase was incorrectly used far too many times.)

Could of?  Should of?  Would of?  WTF??? Are you a fifth grader learning English as a second language? Could have, should have, would have!  Learn to conjugate your damned English verbs.  If I can learn it, so can you.

This is for foreign writers who have someone translate their books for them.  If you're writing an American character, say and FBI agent, FFS use an American to translate that dialog.  American don't say bloody, arse, or pub.  And so the dialogue looks weird and I have to put the book down in disgust.  Luckily, the two books I read where this occurred improved on the author's second book. Proving the adage that even a blind squirrel finds a nut.  Also, non-Americans should not try to write Americans talking it tough.  It just doesn't work.  Unless you bleed greasy hamburgers and can eat a huge piece of pizza folded over you just can't talk tough... Unless you have a London accent, then it almost works, but only in a weird way where you use all the Cockney slang and facial expressions.  Because, let's face it, could any American pull off Bricktop's Pig Farmer or Nemesis monologues?  The correct answer to that is a full throated "NO!".

Moving back to the American type of fantasy writers.  Please, for the love of Science research physics better than you have.  Even if you are abducted from Earth, it would be pretty simple for an advanced race of people to find our star system based on the number of planets, magnitude of our star and having one planet that can sustain life that is the third rock from said star.  So, ladies, if you're hoping for an alien abduction, get to learning about our star system and exactly which kind of star gives us life.  It's a Yellow Dwarf, FYI.


For lady (and male) novel writer who write about shifters, I can tell that none of you have taken an anatomy class, much less a comparative anatomy class.  Most quadrupedal animals actually walk on their fingers and toes.  They have the exact same knees we do, no joints would need to pop or break due to a "shift" in shape.  None whatsoever.  Learn your anatomy then write about the changes during a shift so I don't have to skip pages where your erroneously describe said shift in exactly WRONG detail.  As with the folks misusing English phrasing, I have and will continue to write bad reviews until you learn what you're writing about.  Seriously, just look at your dog or cat.  Also, domesticated cats are the only cats that purr.  Why?  Because they CAN.  Big can't do not have the ability.  Don't overuse artistic license.  Please, dear GOD, just don't.

Yours in Writing


Now, I love the writers who have taken the time and pain to think of new universes for me to lose myself in.  Some are so freakingly awesome that I want to go there physically and experience it. In this section I can happily name names. SE Smith, Eve Langlais, Laurann Dohner, Faith Hunter, Kat Richardson and MK Eidem come to mind immediately.  These ladies have built worlds so rich and full of detail that I feel like I've actually been to those worlds they built and know the people they write about.  They immerse me in that universe and afterwards I don't want to leave.  I recently wept when Kat Richardson ended her Greywalker series and when Ilona Andrews ended the Kate Daniels series.  But it was inevitable.  No one goes on forever and even writers of wildly successful series have to go in other directions. I will miss Harper Blaine and Kate and Curran, painfully, tearfully, but there are other parts of the universe in these authors brains I am dying to explore as well.

The important thing about writing is to write what you know.  In some of the drivel I've read in the past few weeks it's pretty obvious that self-publishing is not for everyone.  Especially people who don't bother to read what they write or they would be painfully embarrassed by what they've put out there for the rest of us to ridicule.  If you don't know it, research it, learn a little something new.  Your writing can only improve upon learning it.

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